While New Years Eve is still a day away, I thought I’d use my quiet Saturday night to do my annual end of the year review.
(Side note, it was quiet because our children were both out of the house, playing with friends. I was making hot tea for my my husband and I and he noted that “this is what every Saturday night will be like in not too long” referring to the kids being out in the world without us. He’s right and it reminds me that the amount of time your kids are actually little and living with you is so short in the grand scheme of things. My son is 10 and if I really want to depress myself, I can think about the fact that his childhood is already half over. This can be a maudlin time of year.)
As in past years, I’ll be answering the template that used to be standard back when everyone was blogging. Now hardly anyone is blogging (though as long as Swistle blogs, I will be happy) but I still like to recap things. So here we go!
1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
Took a long trip by train with my family. It was such a great trip and it made me really appreciate having older kids who are really fun to travel with.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I said: For 2018 I’ve got A LOT on my list of things I’d like to do. I’m turning 40 in August and I have a list of 40 things I’d like to accomplish before then. I’ve got maybe six of them done so far, so I’ve got plenty to accomplish. The biggest one is to finish the first draft of a novel I’ve been slowly working on for about two years.
I ended up doing about half of the things on my turning 40 list, which is about par for the course for me, I suppose. I got most of the things done that related to stuff with the kids and several of the money things but almost none of the ones that related to health and fitness. Sigh. I did not finish the draft of the novel and I bummed about that.
For 2019, I want to keep it simple. I want to write more days than I don’t write and I want to take better care of my health (I’m writing this while dealing with my second bout of bronchitis for the year and a sore back, which I managed to injure while coughing)
3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
We’ll be home and cozy. I have to work during the day, which feels ridiculous since I imagine it will be awfully slow, and I’m hoping I feel better and that we can all play some games and have snacks.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Did anyone give birth?
I didn’t attend any funerals this year, so nobody very close to me died. A number of folks at work welcomed babies this year, so I got in some newborn snuggles, which is always nice.
5.What countries did you visit ? Did I travel this year?
We went to Canada! Montreal and Toronto were both excellent cities and we really enjoyed it. I also went to Florida twice – once for work and once to take Ev to Disney. I also went to Kansas for Thanksgiving, as always, and presented at a conference in Salt Lake City. I also went to Chicago for work and got to see Hamilton, which was everything I hoped it would be. This year had quite a bit of travel, including a week at family camp and a weekend in a cabin in Wisconsin for my birthday. While I loved all the trips, it was not the cheapest year, so this year will be a little more restrained. I’ll go to Los Angeles in March for a work conference and then we’ll do a little family vacation to Wisconsin in August, but we’ll be skipping family camp this year and I don’t see any other big trips on the horizon.
6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
A different President (I’ll say this every year until there is a sane person back in the White House) and a better immune system.
7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My 40th birthday was a pretty great day — I got taken out to dinner and given presents by some dear friends before going to see the Beyonce/Jay-Z concert. It was an awful lot of fun.
8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
I made it through a year at work that was REALLY challenging sometimes, including the transition to having a new boss (who is terrific so far). I also did some freelance writing that I’m proud of at The Billfold, which is a website I like a lot. I’m also starting 2019 feeling like my family/marriage situation is in a good place, which is always a good thing.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I didn’t do a great job of maintaining friendships this year. I didn’t do a lot of face-to-face time with people I like a lot. It is really easy to get sucked into the busyness of life at 40 and go months without connecting to people you really like.
I also continue to struggle with relaxing and giving myself enough down time. I’m a doer by nature and I think I would be healthier if I chilled out a little more (I hear the sound of my husband nodding vigorously whenever he reads this. Yes, honey, I know)
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, the usual assortment of bugs and back pain. Nothing that required hospitalization, thankfully.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets! Tickets to Beyonce, tickets to Hamilton, tickets to Florida for Ev and I… I really enjoyed experiences this year.
12. Where did most of your money go?
The usual culprits: the mortgage and student loans. One of my goals this year was to try to pay a little extra to both each month and I think I managed to pay just over $1000 extra to the mortgage and about $1300 to the student loans, which is a fairly big drop in the bucket. I owe just over $6000 less on my student loans at the end of the year than I did at the start, so I know I’m making some progress. The current goal is to have them paid off before Miles (age 10) graduates from high school.
One annoying expense this year was replacing our bikes after someone stole them out of our garage. I still feel very annoyed by that when I think of it.
13. What song will always remind you of 2018?
The last song of the Beyonce/Jay-Z concert was Apeshit and the crowd really does go Apeshit. This song was a banger.
I also really liked listening to Maggie Rogers and The Greatest Showman soundtrack, though I’ve still not seen the movie because PT Barnum was trash and I want to enjoy the music without having to connect it to him.
14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
The usual suspects: writing, spending time with people I like, swimming or hiking, and reading.
15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stress eating candy while muttering “motherfucker” in my office. Like I said, it was a tough year at work.
16. What was your favorite new TV program?
Oh, this was a good year for TV. I finally watched Brooklyn 99 and I love it so much. The Good Place was at the top of my list last year and continues to be there this year. I self-soothed by watching a lot of the British Baking, often with my daughter, which was fun. I also really like Kim’s Convenience on Netflix. Nanette on Netflix took my breath away.
17. Do you love anyone now that you didn’t love this time last year?
Nope. No new editions to the love list, but no deletions either, so I think that is a win.
18. What was the best book you read?
I read 42 books this year and I rate each of them on a scale of 1-10. There were three 10 out of 10 books this year: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anna Fadiman. I tried to prioritize reading books by women and people of color this year and would also recommend Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung.
What was your greatest musical discovery? Let’s change this question to something that doesn’t assume I am trying to stay abreast of the latest in pop culture. How about what item of clothing did I wear the most?
I wore a lot of dresses this year, including some $17.99 ones from Target that are comfy enough to lounge around in at home but also nice enough to where to the store.
20. What was your favorite film of this year?
I really loved Black Panther and Widows. It was a good year for Daniel Kaluuya.
21.What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
See above! The day after I turned 40, we went to a our favorite cabin in Wisconsin and spend a perfect few days swimming in the lake and reading on the screened in porch. It was a good birthday week.
22. What kept you sane?
My family, some positive changes at work, texting with my friend E., carving out time to go to a cabin in the fall with 22 other women and relaxing in the woods.
23. Who did you miss?
My step-sons, always. We got to see both of them in 2018 and that was great. Hoping for a repeat of that in 2019. I miss face to face time with my friends.
24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned.
Stop being surprised when an asshole acts like an asshole.
25. What pictures best represent 2018?